• Where large numbers of people
that shared a common
interest, concern, or experience
would interact with one another
• Also known as subgroups.
• Before the Web, virtual
communities existed on bulletin
board services and many still
• There are two kinds of
communication among virtual
community members: message
postings and real-time chat
• Virtual communities became
popular in the 1990’s back then
titled “online communities”
• According to PEW Research
Center (2001) “84% of Internet
users, or about 90 million
Americans, say they have used
the Internet to contact or get
information from a group.”
• The first commercial entity to
find success in online
communities was AOL.
• “Various studies have
demonstrated that the function
of online virtual groups is to
provide social and emotional
support to their members.”
(Shoham, S., & Heber, M.
• Groups online are categorized
into categories that the
members or its sponsors have
in common interest.
• The groupings have no
exclusive characterization but
they do represent a shared
interest all communities are
linked by a time, place, or
• They allow individuals to establish a new identity.
• When one joins an online community people get to
choose who they want to be and the things that will
distinguish them from other members.
• Another thing that people benefit from while being
online is anonymity.
• The anonymous nature is another major reason why
people are drawn into online societies because they
are a judgment free zone.
• Not being able to attach users to a face and a name
gives people the chance to say what they openly and
• In society today it is hard to be one’s self out of fear of
• Virtual society brings is that it interferes with social
interaction because some users become so comfortable
in that world that they never want to go back to reality.
• This faceless realm allows for people who are shy to open up
online but then they still forget how to do that once back into
• Not being able to recognize the tone of someone’s
voice/body language can often cause communication
issues in the online communities.
• Creates a gray area when it comes to face-to-face
• Cyberspace can be a way to solving their shyness but
then again it is not a complete resolution.
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• Virtual communities will always
play an important role in today’s
society and its future for better
• The same thing that draws
users into cyberspace is the
same thing that also is a
drawback and that being
• They give those who want a
place to belong the option if
they cannot find it in the reality
• Even though it comes with
benefits and negatives as time
goes on the development of
online communities will
• Online Communities Research Paper:
• Berg, R. (2012). The Anonymity Factor in Making Multicultural Teams Work: Virtual and Real
Teams. Business Communication Quarterly, 75(4), 404-424. doi:10.1177/1080569912453480
• Shoham, S., & Heber, M. (2012). Characteristics of a Virtual Community for Individuals Who Are
d/Deaf and Hard of Hearing. American Annals Of The Deaf, 157(3), 251-263.
• Rosenberry, J. (2010). VIRTUAL COMMUNITY SUPPORT FOR OFFLINE COMMUNITIES
THROUGH ONLINE NEWSPAPER MESSAGE FORUMS. Journalism & Mass Communication
Quarterly, 87(1), 154-169.
• Simpson, B. (2011). What happens online stays online? Virtual punishment in the real world.
Information & Communications Technology Law, 20(1), 3-17. doi:10.1080/13600834.2011.557494
• James, C. A. (2011). Communication in online fan communities: The ethics of intimate strangers.
Empedocles: European Journal For The Philosophy Of Communication, 2(2), 279-289.
• Romm, C., Pliskin, N., & Clarke, R. (1997). Virtual communities and society: toward an integrative
three phase model. International journal of information management, 17(4), 261-270.
• Blanchard, A., & Horan, T. (1998). Virtual communities and social capital. Social science computer
review, 16(3), 293-307.
• Ridings, C. M., Gefen, D., & Arinze, B. (2002). Some antecedents and effects of trust in virtual
communities. The Journal of Strategic Information Systems, 11(3), 271-295.
• Masters , A. (2011, 09 11). [Web log message]. Retrieved from